9/11 anniversary: Philippe Petit, man who walked high-wire between Twin Towers, reflects on how the terror attacks changed his view of the buildings


More than four decades may have gone by, but Philippe Petit is just as spry as ever, and he’s not about to hang up his wires anytime soon.


This week marks 44 years since Petit, then 24, orchestrated one of the most death-defying acts of all time — walking on a wire only as wide as a few Starbucks straws between the World Trade Center towers as daylight broke over lower Manhattan.

Dabbing sweat off his brow on a scorching day in New York City, the famed aerialist’s recollection of that overcast Aug. 7 morning in 1974 is effortless.

“I don’t have to make any thoughts to relive it,” Petit told InsideEdition.com from inside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where he has been an artist in residence for nearly 40 years. “It just comes back as if it were yesterday.”

Onlookers gawked as Petit crossed the void between the Twin Towers eight times. At one point, against the logic of anyone who gets queasy with heights, he gazed downward to the streets below.

“There were people looking up, and I look all the way down — and I loved it!” Petit said. “And it was amazing, because people were little ants, little dots, like I must have been for them.

“And I will never forget that. The picture I took in my head of that scene, it was beautiful and frightening and unique.”

His friends later told him he was out there on his wire for 45 minutes before ending the bold stunt at the urging of the New York Police Department as rain clouds approached.

He was arrested and charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. The case was dropped, however, when Petit agreed to stage a performance for children in Central Park.

Even decades later, Petit’s performance in the sky has been the subject of numerous books and films. A documentary on the feat, “Man on Wire,” won an Academy Award for best documentary in 2008.

Petit efficiently obtained a wire between the buildings on the 7 August that yr and walked between them eight instances. Regardless of law enforcement officials calling for him to get down, he solely stopped when it began to rain.

Wanting again now, Petit and his co-conspirators now not name them “my towers”.